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Finding peace amidst strife and conflict

A chapter from WHY WORRY? by Ven. K Sri Dhammananda

A boil cannot be cured by merely cutting it off. In the same manner, we never experience peace by force but by removing the main cause of the conflict.

Never before in the history of the world, has the human race been in such great need for freedom from conflict, ill-feeling, selfishness, deceit and strife. We are in dire need of peace not only in our homes, offices and in our personal lives, but also at global level. The tension, anxiety and fear arising from conflicts are not only disruptive but constitute a constant drain on our being, mentally and physically. Human beings have become the most violent beings in this world.

Unrest and Global Conflict
Today, the threat of global nuclear destruction is a real possibility. Should there be a global nuclear war there can be no sanctuary anywhere under the sun for man to escape to. What a mess the human race has landed itself in! Scientific advancement which has made possible the tapping of the tremendous energy within the atom has also endangered the human species. As long as man is dominated by ignorance, selfishness, injustice, vengeance and other kindred evil destructive forces, no one will be safe from him.

It has been recorded that the "blinding flash" of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima altered the course of world history. The flash which radiated from Hiroshima created suffering, fear, hatred and uncertainty to millions of lives all over the world. In stark contrast, the glorious light that flashed and radiated with the enlightenment of the Buddha under the Bodhi tree more than 2500 years ago was also of great significance to human destiny. It illuminated the way for mankind to cross over from the world of darkness filled with greed, hatred and delusion to a world of light filled with love, kindness and happiness.


The basic problem we face today is moral degeneration and misplaced intelligence. In spite of all the advances made by science and technology, the world is far from being safe and peaceful. Science and technology have indeed made human life more insecure than ever before. If there is no corresponding spiritual improvement in our approach to human problems then human life itself will be in danger.

The Buddha showed mankind the way to a new world of peace, prosperity and goodwill. But today, the human race has ignored this timeless message. Nuclear destruction is just only a button away for man who has gone astray. Man may have gained control over the forces of nature, but he is not in control of his own nature. If he continues in this way, there is only one way he can proceed - along the path to self-destruction and extinction.

In the search for peace and harmony, world leaders have attempted to formulate international treaties and agreements to prevent or settle disputes among nations. The United Nations as a world body was established after the Second World War to maintain international order and stability. It might not be the best vehicle to achieve that purpose but at least it provides a workable system whereby disputing nations can meet in a civilized manner to settle their problems. The hostility, fear and suspicion among different races, nations and religious denominations, however, do not make peaceful co-existence an easily accomplished goal. Despite the endless hours of negotiation and rhetoric at the United Nations, countries are still fighting one another and cease fire agreements are broken with impunity and predictable regularity, Where do people find peace and happiness under such circumstances? Happiness never arises when there is fear.

Establishment of Peace
A happy and contented life cannot be achieved if we waste our time and energy in conflict and strife. To have peace, we must renounce conflict of every description. The heart, once freed from such strife will then be free to become the instrument of welfare that it should be, instead of being a hindrance to society. The invisible and powerful mind can be diverted to the weal of mankind, instead of its woe. A boil cannot be cured by merely cutting it off with a blade. The contaminated blood will only produce more and more boils. The root cause must be investigated first and eliminated to effect a radical cure. Similarly, for there to be peace, the heart and mind, which form the basis of human action, should also be at rest. This can be brought about through a sincere spiritual awakening. What is of importance is not mere faith but for people to lead a life of love, sincerity and justice based on the moral principles taught by religious teachers. Contd>

 

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